Spencer Group builds landmark silo tower in biomass scheme

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A NEW landmark has appeared on the Hull skyline.

Engineering business Spencer Group is building a facility to support a major green energy investment at the Port of Hull.

Spencer Group has erected a silo tower at the port, as part of a multi-million pound contract to create a facility to load sustainable biomass on to rail wagons. The biomass will be transported to Drax Power Station, near Selby.

Drax plans to convert three of its six generating units to burn sustainable biomass, as it is transformed into a mainly biomass-fuelled generator over the next few years.

When complete, the silo tower will rise to 160 feet, which will make it one of the tallest structures on Hull’s sky- line.

Ian Atkinson, engineering director for Spencer Engineering, said yesterday: “This is a flagship project for the Spencer Group and it couldn’t be more prominent.

“We can even see it from our offices at Humber Quays, four miles further along the waterfront in Hull.”

The silo is part of a system that will handle a million tonnes a year of biomass imported from the US and Canada by sea to Hull in the form of wood pellets created from forestry residues.

After being unloaded at the port, the biomass will be stored in warehouses before being delivered by truck to the new facility, and unloaded into feeders, which will take it to the 250-metre long conveyor.

The silo will be filled by 60 truckloads of biomass over a three-hour period, twice a day, loading at the rate of 600 tonnes an hour. It has a capacity of 3,000 cubic metres and will be capable of storing up to 1,800 tonnes of wood pellets for discharge into rail wagons as they pass through the base of the structure.

Mr Atkinson added: “The Humber ports are becoming a major gateway for biomass shipments and, because of its prominence, this project is something of a beacon for the rapidly-growing renewables industries in the Humber.”

The facility and related infrastructure is due to be completed in September.

It is expected to become operational in October.

The work is part of an investment of £100m in the Humber Ports, related to a 15-year contract between port operator ABP, and Drax Power, to handle biomass shipments destined for Drax power station.

A spokesman for the Spencer Group added: “The investment reinforces the Humber’s position as the UK’s energy estuary, and the region’s growing credentials as a major renewables hub.”